A solution to mobile blackspots around Brinkworth, and an insight into opportunities to expand and export pig artificial insemination (AI) services – along with a quick stop at Clare’s coffee shops – were among the highlights of a visit to the region last week by Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone.
The minister was on his 20th regional visit since COVID-19 restrictions lifted, and his pitstops last Tuesday included a tour – joined by Member for Frome Geoff Brock – of the Sabor (AI) facility near Clare, and a check in with Mills Transport at Brinkworth.
At Brinkworth, the touring party was joined by Wakefield Regional Council mayor Rodney Reid, where they met with Mills Transport to hear about the impact of a new mobile phone tower (funded through round four of the Australian Government’s $380 million Mobile Black Spot Program, along with joint funding from the South Australian Government and provider, Optus).
“It will be a significant help to the Mills Transport business,” Minister Whetstone said.
“It was a celebration really, anyone who has been isolated through lack of mobile phone coverage and now has the opportunity to be part of the network, would understand this well. The advantage is, if you’re a business – whether you’re a farmer on a tractor selling a load of grain, or you’re one of the Mills Transport drivers out on the road – it provides a level of safety and secure coverage.
“And also for people using the arterial roads around that area, you will benefit from access to service.”
Minister Whetstone said he expected the tower to be installed and operational within six months.
Minister Whetstone said he was impressed with what he saw at Sabor and was excited by the opportunities ahead for the company.
“It was a real eye-opener to look at the largest AI facility in the country, and it’s right here on our back doorstep,” he said.
“The impact Sabor has had on the pork industry is huge, offering a nationwide service and now looking to branch out into Taiwan, it has really shone a light on the business and its potential to be a world leader.
“They see great opportunity and are looking to expand their facility, but they’re looking for a level of certainty following COVID-19 before that happens.”
Minister Whetstone said the Sabor visit also further highlighted the importance of protecting the nation’s pork industry from African Swine Fever and maintaining Australia’s disease-free status.
The tour party then continued on north, to Port Pirie where the minister met with commercial fishermen to discuss the Marine Scalefish Fishery Reform, met with local farmers to discuss the lifting of the genetically modified (GM) moratorium, and also visited the Spencer Gulf uni hub.